The Walking Dead is currently airing the six bonus episodes of Season 10, which will now act as some of the series; final episodes. After being a mainstay and a ratings powerhouse for AMC for more than a decade, The Walking Dead is set to end with Season 11, which will air later this year. According to series star Jeffery Dean Morgan, however, the series wasn't initially supposed to end after the upcoming season.
Speaking with Collider six months after AMC made the announcement TWD would be coming to an end, Morgan, who plays everyone's favorite villain, Negan, revealed he and his co-stars were just as shocked by the news as fans were. The actor revealed the cancellation "was a complete surprise… to everybody involved in the show," including content officer Scott M. Gimple and showrunner Angela Kang, who "had no idea" the news was coming. Although Morgan refrained from outright stating the show was meant to live on for a few more seasons, he said the cancellation, which "came from nowhere," forced the series to make "a huge pivot. I think they had Season 11 all mapped out, where they were going to go, and suddenly it became, 'We also have to close the story, in a way.'"
AMC made the announcement that "took everybody by surprise" back in September, with Kang stating TWD "has been my creative home for a decade and so it's bittersweet to bring it to an end." Along with announcing two spinoff shows – one focused on fan-favorites Carol Peletier and Daryl Dixon and Tales of The Walking Dead, an "episodic anthology" series – it was revealed Season 11 would be an expanded season with a total of 24 episodes. According to Morgan, Season 11, which is currently filming, has "so much story" and is "very grand in scale."
"Our first two episodes, we had 28 shooting days. Normally, we do that in 16. So, it suddenly seems a lot bigger somehow," he revealed. "I think everyone is keenly aware that it is our last year, as far as the writers and stuff. It feels good. It feels like the story is really good. I've only seen the first four scripts, and they're great. There's so far no reference and no feeling in the story that it's ending at all. It's opening up all of these new chapters that are really interesting and cool. I'm excited.""
As for the series drawing to a close, Morgan said it feels "surreal." A staple on the series since Negan was first introduced back in the Season 6 finale, the actor said TWD has "become such a part of my life, and a part of everyone's life that's in the show, that it's hard to reconcile the fact this will be over in a year from now." He added, "I'm not thinking about the end yet, although it's back there. We still have a lot of story to tell."
TWD Season 11 is set to premiere sometime during summer 2021. The final bonus episode of Season 10, set to feature Negan's backstory, with Morgan's real-life wife, Hilarie Burton, portraying his onscreen wife, airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Stay tuned to PopCulture for the latest updates!